As children, we instinctually know that physically connecting our body to the Earth, stretching out under the trees on a hot summer day, rolling in the grass, or thrusting our hands into the soil of the garden makes us feel wonderful, alive and free. Called “earthing” and touted as a new discovery in recent times, our pre-colonial ancestors embodied this miraculous energy and well-being, gained from physical contact to the land. Spending time in the garden gives us the perfect opportunity to merge with these healing and energizing properties, which have been identified by modern science as the transfer of electrons (the earth’s natural, subtle energy) into our bodies. Without a doubt, our immersion in the green space of the garden, and our bodily contact with the Earth, promotes tranquility, reflection, and restoration for the human spirit!
And yet, the philosophy and material culture of our high-tech post-industrial society conspire to keep us from connecting to green spaces, and their boundless storehouse of healing and energizing electrons. Walking on concrete with rubber or plastic-soled shoes, living indoors buttressed with insulative materials, travelling by vehicle from place to place, working under artificial lights, and spending hours on electronic gadgets all take their toll on our physical health and spiritual well-being. Studies that reference the disruptive and negative effects of synthetic environments on human vitality such as “sick building syndrome” point to this malaise, and an overall reduction in well-being.
Revisiting our reciprocity with the land requires the ethics of genuine care, and as every good gardener knows, the soil itself needs to be nurtured and tended. Age-old practices in subsistence communities honour the Earth under our feet as alive and divine, a sacred and life-giving force that can be enhanced and nourished for greater yields, and for the vitality of all beings. Indigenous societies know the soil to “have human form, and we hint at the same spiritual insight when we speak of rich soil as humus – a word having the same etymological root as human – for when we care for the soil we care for ourselves.” Composting methods, vermiculture, and transferring lawn clippings back to the Earth instead of sending them to the landfill, are all soil-building practices we can adopt today.
The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.
The more we engage with re-connecting to our essential eco-selves, the more apparent it becomes that the Earth is the ultimate source of all wellness and invigoration! In our time and place, the flow of healing and energizing power from the soil that interacts with the intricate mechanisms of our physical body is another major reason for spending time in the garden. Being outside, absorbing nature’s limitless conducive energy systems and “getting grounded” can reverse chronic health conditions, enhance our immune system and keep us young. And gardening is the perfect way to refocus our thoughts, uplift our spirit, open our intuitive channels, enhance our physical endurance, and revive our connectivity to the rhythm and energy of the land. In addition to enhanced health and wellbeing, our sensate animal body experiences a pure joy and happiness when we are physically connected to the Earth, and we can access this miracle at any time!
 Philip Shepherd, New Self New World: Recovering Our Senses in the 21st Century, North Atlantic Books, 2010
 Patricia Monaghan, Magical Gardens: Cultivating Soil and Spirit, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012
 Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, Sierra Club Books, 1996
"Earthing in the Garden" by Pegi Eyers was originally published in One Thousand Trees Magazine, May 2020.
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," an award-winning book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, uncolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community. Available from Stone Circle Press or Amazon